It is particularly painful because pre-rain Lake County had the highest potential for a Grand Vintage I had ever seen (in my few years here) with more moderate heat and high humidity, no frost damage, early start and typical low pest pressure other than mildew and some early unusual botrytis. If you were up on your mildew control it was looking like a beautifully structured old-world inflected possibility. Many of us never even touched water until Mid-August. Unfortunately limited labor is affecting this vintage just as much as the weather.
In keeping with the general theme of 2011 the alcohol will be below 14% for the Barbera, which is nice for everyone in theory and the acid is good, though not as great as the wack-job press would lead you to believe. In fact, for these late-season cultivars acid is nowhere near screaming high from the numbers I have seen. For the early season stuff like Russian River Pinot and Chardonnay, sure, but everything from the Central Valley is about where it normally is due to the longer growing season (ah ha, the press misses that part). Napa Valley Cab at 3.4pH just is not going to happen (except for Corison of course). American Tartaric as far as I know is reporting no huge loss in sales - in fact tartaric acid is also at an all-time record high price this year, over $200 per 25kg. sack! Painful.
|Aglianico canopy going strong|
The last thing worth mentioning is this piece right here about hiring unskilled non-immigrant picking crews and the current labor shortage. All you pasty suburban kids staring at Facebook, stop taking pictures of yourself, go outside and do some worky work. You are not special. You are not unique or beautiful snowflakes...
|Aglianico clusters freeballing|